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UN humanitarians concerned about killing of civilians in eastern DRC

Fighting between the M2 rebels and DR Congo forces rages on. File Photo

United Nations | Xinhua | The killing of at least 31 people in less than a week in the eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is raising deep concern, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

During attacks on villages in the Irumu territory of Ituri province during July 7-12, at least 11 civilians were killed and 57 abducted, including about 30 children, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

At least 600 houses were burned down. Local humanitarian partners estimate that at least 24,000 people fled to neighboring villages, the office said.

At least five civilians were killed on Tuesday when armed groups attacked the town of Beni in North Kivu.

The latest attack followed one on July 8 at a health center in Beni, where at least 15 civilians, including a health worker and patients, were killed and several others abducted, OCHA said. It was the eighth attack on a health facility in North Kivu this year.

These attacks come at a time when thousands are being displaced almost every day by continued fighting between the DRC army and the M23 armed group in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu, the office said. Some 700,000 people have been displaced in the country this year, bringing the total of internally displaced people to more than 6 million.

“We have restricted access to these areas due to insecurity and ongoing military operations,” OCHA said. “We call on parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. We have been advocating with the authorities and non-state armed groups to facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.”

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